As I sit and look back to this time last year, it’s hard to remember just how far we have come.
The start of the year was filled with anxiety.
The Bear was unhappy at school and the Lion spent most of the early part of 2017 in and out of hospital. We were torn between both, knowing that they both needed us more than they ever had, yet for the most part too worried and exhausted to be much use to either of them.
We learnt what it was like to live in the land of the unknown.
To wake up every day filled with worry and uncertainty, with no idea how to make things better.
We also learnt what it was like to live off no sleep, to wake every fifteen minutes and pace around the room with a baby in pain. I have never shed as many tears as I did in the first part of 2017.
Nor have I ever felt as if life was as out of our control.
Mr Google predictably had no answers. But as always when it comes to the Lion, the doctors were also at a loss. Even an endoscopy and PH study didn’t really give us any answers.
In April we were given a light out of the darkness.
The reflux finally left the Lion and us in peace. And simultaneously school life once again settled down for the Bear.
If anything though the Lion was eating less than he ever had.
And it wasn’t just food, he even started refusing medication and liquids and once again we ended up in hospital with dehydration.
We were all at a loss, and the doctors started to talk seriously about the probability of a feeding tube. He’d stopped gaining weight and no-one felt that rapid improvements were likely.
But, well the Lion being the Lion meant he wasn’t going to prove anyone right.
And by the end of the summer he had decided that food wasn’t as bad as he’d expected it to be.
He started eating. Slowly at first but gradually with more gusto.
It’s still on his terms, and he’s more than a little picky. But food is going down and he’s gaining weight. And right now for us, that is most definitely a win we won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
As for the Bear, her dream came true and after six years away we returned to the Disney Magic to Cruise.
She was reunited with the characters she loves and we relished watching the delight of both children as they played onboard.
A holiday with a toddler, especially one less than keen on his food, was always going to be challenging. And it wasn’t exactly what you would call a relaxing break.
But it was a break.
A time to rebuild, to come together as a family and to put away some of the worries that have haunted us since the Lion was born.
Since then, they have both gone from strength to strength. The Bear wowed me with how well she coped with going round secondary schools and the Lion put some of our final fears to bed, when he got sick but managed to keep hydrated.
Life as they say, is finally on the up.
The children are happy. And we are happy.
What’s more, we are finally getting some sleep… we’re now down to only a couple of wake ups a night and that is a very good thing indeed.
2017 you challenged us. You made us look our fears in the eyes. But you did not break us.
You made us stronger.
As a family we triumphed.